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Good evening, here are the coronavirus updates you need to know tonight.

Top headlines:

  1. Investigators from China and the World Health Organization have concluded that the coronavirus cannot be traced to Wuhan prior to Dec. 8, 2019
  2. Air Canada is laying off more than 1,500 staff, and suspending some U.S. and international routes
  3. Health Canada now agrees with Pfizer and BioNTech that each vial of their vaccine contains six doses, rather than five

In the last 7 days, 24,382 cases were reported, down 17 per cent from the previous 7 days. There were 696 deaths announced, down 14 per cent over the same period. At least 2,835 people are being treated in hospitals and 750,713 others are considered recovered.

About 90 per cent of the 1,255,315 doses of vaccines distributed to provinces have been administered. That’s 3.0 doses for every 100 people in Canada.

Sources: Canada data is compiled from government websites, Johns Hopkins and COVID-19 Canada Open Data Working Group; international data is from Johns Hopkins University.

Coronavirus explainers: Coronavirus in maps and charts Lockdown rules and reopeningCanada’s vaccine distribution planDeveloping/approved vaccinesPfizer’s vaccine, explained Essential resources

Photo of the day

A Peruvian municipal worker dressed in a COVID-19 costume accompanies the Peruvian army as they patrol the regional Laykakota Indigenous market in Puno today. A nationwide vaccination campaign began today in several hospitals in Lima, where hundreds of doctors, nurses and support personnel received the first dose of the vaccine.JUAN CARLOS CISNEROS/AFP/Getty Images

Coronavirus in Canada

In Ottawa, the government said self-employed Canadians will no longer have to pay back thousands of dollars in CERB payments if they became ineligible because of confusion over how the program defined income.

  • Some self-employed Canadians said they were being told to repay their Canada Emergency Response Benefit money because they did not meet a minimum $5,000 income threshold.
  • Some had understood the threshold to mean gross income – before taxes or other deductions – but if the government used net income, they would fall below the threshold.
  • The Prime Minister said today the individuals in this situation will not have to pay back the benefit as long as they had at least $5,000 in gross income.

Land border testing: The Prime Minister said a negative COVID-19 test will be required for anyone entering Canada by land, starting Feb. 15.

Vaccine efficacy: Britain and several other countries are standing by the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine despite questions about its effectiveness against the South African variant.

Coronavirus around the world

Coronavirus and business

Air Canada will issue layoff notices for 1,500 people and suspend service on 17 routes amid a lack of demand for air travel in the pandemic.

  • The cuts will temporarily eliminate 1,500 unionized jobs, and an unspecified number of management positions, the company said.
  • Since last March, the airline has laid off more than 20,000 people – more than half its work force.

Also today: Realtors are puzzled over record-high January sales in the Greater Toronto Area, which have increased by a whopping 52.4 per cent from the same time period last year.

And: Bell is dropping the all-sports format at three of its radio stations in Canada, with one observer citing a likely revenue decline related to COVID-19: The TSN format is being removed from TSN 1040 AM in Vancouver, TSN 1290 AM in Winnipeg and TSN 1150 AM in Hamilton.

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Sources: Canada data are compiled from government websites, Johns Hopkins University and COVID-19 Canada Open Data Working Group; international data are from Johns Hopkins.

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